Shannon Miller is returning to women’s hockey.
The former Univ. of Minnesota-Duluth women’s hockey coach has been hired by the Calgary Inferno of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League as the team’s new head coach.
Miller had coached the UMD women’s hockey team to five national championships before being fired during the 2015 season while her team was ranked sixth nationally. They finished the season ranked ninth in the country. She brought a discrimination case against the school in Federal court and was recently given a monumental victory and a $3.74 million judgement by the jury.
The school has not won a title in women’s hockey since Miller was illegally fired.
“Growing up in Alberta in the ‘90s, I am familiar with Shannon’s history here and have followed her accomplishments since then,” said Kristen Hagg, general manager of the Inferno. “It is pretty surreal to now have an opportunity to work alongside her.”
For Miller, winning her lawsuit was validation. Now returning to hockey will be her biggest reward.
“It feels absolutely fantastic to be back in the saddle coaching again,” Miller told Outsports. “I was born to coach and it feeds my soul.”
Miller has spent the last few “painful” and “heartbreaking” years forced away from coaching living in Palm Springs with her partner, former UMD softball coach Jen Banford. Now Miller is excited to head back up north and, above all else, again coach young women to be the best they can be.
“I love to work with people to bring out the best in themselves,” Miller said. “I have missed that connection and worthwhile task. As I help bring out the best in them, it requires bringing out the best in myself.”
Banford, who is part of a civil rights case against the school for a discriminatory firing, will join the team as the part-time director of operations.
The CWHL has seven teams. Four are based in Canada, one in Massachusetts and two in China.